How to enable the biometric authentication feature of Bitwarden on LibreWolf

Due to AdGuard suddenly failing on the Arc browser, I once again had the idea of changing browsers. I remember Dayu mentioning on his blog that he had switched to an open-source browser called LibreWolf after being torn between Chrome and Arc. Since I had been wanting to escape the Chrome camp and find a browser that prioritizes privacy and is open-source, why not give it a try?

I won't go into detail about LibreWolf and the plugins and userscripts Dayu uses in his article. I must say, this browser performs well in all aspects on macOS, and I also found a comparison of several popular browsers here for those interested.

Issues Encountered#

I use the password manager Bitwarden, and after installing it on LibreWolf, I couldn't enable the biometric authentication (fingerprint unlock) feature. Although I could choose to enter the master password or pin code every time to unlock, it was still inconvenient and not in line with my lazy style.

I went to the Bitwarden official website to check and saw that they claimed to support biometric authentication. So I went to the LibreWolf official documentation and found the following paragraph:

How do I set up Bitwarden's biometric authentication?#

This is an ongoing issue where we can only help you with a workaround:

Open the Registry Editor and go to Computer\HKEY_CURRENT_USER\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\NativeMessagingHosts\ and/or HKEY_LOCAL_MACHINE\SOFTWARE\Mozilla\NativeMessagingHosts. Create a new key called com.8bit.bitwarden in the left-side panel of RegEdit (or your registry editor of choice, fellow home users). Set the Default REG_SZ to contain the path to Bitwarden Firefox's Native Messaging Manifest: ...\browsers\firefox.json. The path may look something like this, your mileage will vary: C:\Users\milk\scoop\apps\bitwarden\current\bitwarden-appdata\browsers\firefox.json.

Once you've done that, you should be able to setup the Native Messaging bridge between LibreWolf and Bitwarden for biometric authentication.

I was very annoyed. Since it's an acknowledged communication issue between LibreWolf and the system, why did they only provide a solution for Windows?

Then I found in the documentation that KeePassXC, a password management software for macOS, also had a communication issue with the system, and the solution was to add a symbolic link:

ln -s ~/Library/Application\ Support/Mozilla/NativeMessagingHosts ~/Library/Application\ Support/LibreWolf/NativeMessagingHosts

Well, I don't know what that means, but GPT-4 should know.


First, GPT-4 made sure that I had installed the desktop version of Bitwarden on macOS and enabled "Allow browser integration" in the settings.

Then, Bitwarden's biometric authentication feature needs access to the NativeMessagingHosts directory, so it needs to be confirmed or created.

mkdir -p ~/Library/Application\ Support/Mozilla/NativeMessagingHosts

Bitwarden also requires a file named com.8bit.bitwarden.json to exist in the NativeMessagingHosts directory. Usually, this file is located in the corresponding directory for Chrome. We need to create a link to point this file to the Mozilla directory.

ln -s ~/Library/Application\ Support/Google/Chrome/NativeMessagingHosts/com.8bit.bitwarden.json ~/Library/Application\ Support/Mozilla/NativeMessagingHosts/

Next, create a symbolic link to make LibreWolf's NativeMessagingHosts directory point to the Mozilla NativeMessagingHosts directory.

ln -s ~/Library/Application\ Support/Mozilla/NativeMessagingHosts ~/Library/Application\ Support/LibreWolf/NativeMessagingHosts

After completing the above steps, it is necessary to confirm that all symbolic links have been correctly established.

ls -l ~/Library/Application\ Support/LibreWolf/NativeMessagingHosts

At this point, you should see a link pointing to com.8bit.bitwarden.json, as well as a link pointing to the Mozilla NativeMessagingHosts directory.

With that, the task is complete. Restart LibreWolf and go to the Bitwarden browser extension to enable "Allow biometric authentication", and you will be able to use fingerprint unlock normally.

I hope this article can help LibreWolf and Bitwarden users who encounter similar issues, allowing us all to enjoy a more convenient and secure browsing experience.

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